Getting a Good Night’s Rest
Head on the pillow, eyes closed, and all you can think about are the things you need to do, haven’t done, or mistakes you’ve made. Sound familiar? When you’re stressed, it can become even harder to get a good night’s rest.
The importance of sleep
Sleep is one of the most underestimated health needs, but it is necessary for your body to reset and your mind to retain information. Every adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep a night to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ways to improve your sleep
- Get into a bedtime routine. Try to keep the same bedtime each night and keep all mentally-demanding tasks to the afternoon or early evening. The hour before bed should be reserved as your time to relax.
- Jot down things that are causing you stress. As you write, you should feel more distance from your stressors. Write from an objective perspective and let them go!
- Turn down the lights. Your body begins producing a sleep hormone called melatonin when it’s dark. This will help prepare your body for sleep.
- Find the ideal temperature. Your body temperature is lowered to initiate sleep, so a cooler bedroom can help you fall asleep more easily. The ideal temperature varies between individuals, but generally between 62-67 degrees Fahrenheit is best for high-quality, uninterrupted sleep.
Things to avoid before bed
- Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals five to seven hours before bed. These chemicals act as stimulants, either immediately after consumption or for hours afterwards.
- Varying your sleep schedule. Don’t stay up extra late on the weekends and expect to easily return to normal bedtime hours during the week. The same applies for sleeping in late.
- Eating. Eat lighter and finish eating at least two hours before bedtime. Doing this helps eliminate indigestion, which can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. If you need a snack before bedtime, keep it to dairy foods or carbohydrates.
What is progressive muscle relaxation? It’s a popular relaxation technique used by many to help get in that “sleepy mood.” Try the Calm.com app to walk you through relaxation techniques.